Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Amidi has been a lot on my mind lately. She doesn't get put up in the show ring often. Her photos are the least commented on. She's a sound, moderate, solid girl, but one who isn't flashy. She's a talented courser, can tie Anubi in racing when she really puts her mind to it, and honestly has more titles than Anubi did at the same age. And everyone who meets her in person absolutely adores her, so it's more than time she has her own blog post.
I was added to the waiting list for Ami's litter substantially before her mother was bred. After a year in the show and performance world with Anubi I was seriously considering getting into breeding and was looking for a bitch to compliment him both physically and in pedigree. While I was still very green to breeding concepts (I have since spent literally hundreds of hours doing pedigree and breeding deep dives), to this day I think between good luck and decent instinct, I chose quite well.
The wait was well over six months by the time I brought Ami home. I corresponded with her breeders and their friends regularly and adored watching the puppies grow. Deb Kidwell, one of Ami's breeders, did the near unheard of thing and let me have first pick of the girls and I will forever be grateful to her and Norma for that.
So shortly after the pups turned eight weeks I flew to Tennessee, stayed with Deb, and got to look over the three girls of the litter. I was looking for the driviest girl with solid structure and good handler focus. I had a personal favorite (the black mask girl) going in, but I'd been told the girl with the white nose had the most outgoing personality. She and the black masked girl had very similar structure (they still do) but the white nosed girl had a...rather homely head.
I got there and sat with the puppies for a couple hours. I watched them play inside and out and with their littermates. I saw how they interacted with people and played with toys with them. While I loved the little black faced girl it was the white nosed girl who kept coming back to me and staring me in the eyes. She was the one who stayed on the tug toy longest and wasn't overbearing with her sisters. Though it hadn't been my plan, I went home with the little white nosed girl and named her Amidi. That's why you evaluate puppies in person. I'm friends with the owner of Sakinah, the black masked girl and she's grown into a lovely adult. But there's no doubt in my mind I made the right choice for me personally and the lifestyle we live. And as a bonus, Ami has grown to have a really lovely head.
Something I didn't talk much about at the time was the string of bad luck I had with Ami growing up. She went to puppy daycare, which she really loved as a young puppy but came down with a bad case of kennel cough that took three+ weeks to clear up. She had to be completely isolated from other dogs. She still went to work at the theatre with Whitman and loved seeing all the people there, but her socialization with dogs was heavily curtailed at a critical time. Then she came down with it again a few weeks later (at that point I wasn't messing around and she went straight on a course of antibiotics which immediately did the trick). When she went back to daycare she was in a fear period. She was nervous of other dogs. She was suddenly prone to resource guarding. I pulled her from daycare and mostly stuck to socializing her with respectful adults. With time, she started to be comfortable in those settings but few others.
Around that time she also developed mild leash reactivity stemming from her new found insecurity around dogs. That was easily managed and not a problem I've seen pop up in over a year, but it was certainly a sharp change from the confident, dog social puppy I'd brought home.
Not long after, she managed to tear off her dewclaw while running in a field with Anubi. She wasn't limping, she didn't cry out, and she was a champ about bandaging, but it still meant she was on crate rest for a couple weeks while it healed. It healed ever so slightly wonky, but it doesn't seem to affect her in the least and she's never caught it again. Could this have been avoided by removing dewclaws? Sure, but when I see her come back from coursing with her dirt under her dewclaws, it's very evident that she actively uses those claws to corner. An injury is a risk I am willing to run for functionality.
I was raising Ami during the revelation about the potential dangers of grain-free foods. This meant I was in the process of finding a new food for my dogs and I had to shop around for a puppy food that worked. I tried Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy, which turns out to have been completely incompatible with Ami. While she was on it she had all sorts of GI issues and her feet, which had been nice and tightly knuckled started to go flat as well as her other connective tissue loosening. This corrected itself partially with a diet change and the addition of Vitamin C, but her feet have never gone back to as tightly knuckled as they were. Epigentics are a fascinating thing and I definitely did a lot of reading about it while I was going through this with Ami. (Not looking for a lecture about big commercial dog food companies or a comparison of raw. We've since switched to Purina Pro Plan have had zero issues. It just wasn't a good fit for Ami).